I’ve gone along to a couple of gatherings over the years on Boxing Day to witness the splendour of such colourful exciting noisy and new sights. Here in England Fox-hunting and Boxing Day are two old English customs that go together like hand and glove ( For my overseas friends, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day) Giant “Hunter”horses beautifully turned out with manes and tails carefully woven into plaits, smaller fellows looking just as smart and sprinkled about fussed mums and dads with daughters and sons sat upon little ponois. The riders look immaculate in their attire, gents and young men as tidy and smart as you will ever see. Mums ladies and teenagers are very elegant and look simply stunning. The side saddle ladies take the elegant stakes to a different level and amaze me as to how they stay on AND keep their top hats on! I’ve seen ’em often but am still in awe to this day. It’s important to look right on this special social spectacle and so everyone does their utmost to look the part. I’ve followed quite a few hunts over this past 12 months and the exacting standard is always high.
I was fortunate to get an invite by Simon to attend a hunt back in January with my camera though first impressions didn’t go too well. Id turned up in mish mash of ex military clothes, cheap excellent kit to wear in the wet English countryside. Id worn this kit for the previous 20 odd years motorbiking and camping. They stared at me as I stood by my truck watching people getting ready. Why are looking, don’t they like my truck??… then the penny began to drop, what made it worse was the guy who’d invited me wasn’t here today. “Oh sh*t! This isn’t a good start” I said to myself I tried to smile and nod at folk as I began to walk around the horse transports with my camera I either looked very brave or very stupid! The “terrier men” watched me carefully too! I walked towards the red jacketed man as he strode towards me saying something like “Look here chap are you with us or against us?” Struggling to remember Simon’s name I began to explain myself. I’m sure everyone was watching by now! It turned out OK though folk were still frosty towards me which is totally understandable
Here in the UK its been a mater for debate for many years and everyone has an opinion rightly or wrongly about fox hunting. Over the years its been hijacked by both the politicians and animal right activists and so in my opinion badly maligned as a result. From what I’ve seen heard and read both groups don’t appear to have grasp on fox hunting…or real life for that matter… Anyway, here are the photos from my time this year with The Grove & Rufford Hunt. They are not in any particular date or from any particular day out but from January Feb March then starting again in October.